East Ridge and CARTA looking at expanding bus services - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

East Ridge and CARTA looking at expanding bus services

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The city of East Ridge is taking a look at how to better meet the transportation needs for people living in the area. They want to know if adding more bus routes is something people would use.

Right now, East Ridge has four CARTA buses that go up and down Ringgold road, but that could soon change.

CARTA provided bus service for East Ridge more than three decades ago, but they stopped operations because there wasn't enough money to support it.

Scott Miller East Ridge City Manager, Scott Miller, said recently city leaders contacted CARTA to get input about the current system.

"Is that satisfactory? Is there other services they want connection to? Is there other services that CARTA needs to provide? Or transportation needs that need to be provided?” Miller said.

Merle Johnson walks several miles to get food for his family, he's one of many East Ridge residents pushing to add more bus routes around the city.

"I think it would be a good idea for them, because it's a lot better for them from walking and stuff and they can't hardly get around and I believe that would be the good thing to do right there,” Johnson said.

Thursday the city and CARTA held a public meeting, about 50 people showed up and expressed how they think the bus system could be improved.

Miller said it was clear, the people living in the city want more options to support the needs of the disabled in the community.

"Is the bus service were providing in Ringgold road is that something we need to continue? Or is that something we need to enhance? Or do we need to put more emphasis on transportation for the disabled individuals,” Miller added.

CARTA and the city of East Ridge are in the process of collecting data to see where to put the bus routes and who would foot the bill?

"When you talk about cost of transportation someone is going to bear the cost. Whether is on the local level, or it's a fee based, or a grant through the federal government we don't know that,” Miller explained.

Whatever the outcome. Johnson is glad the city is taking ‘steps’ to help those in need, including himself.

"I would want it, to be on it, to help me get around and stuff."

The city says they hope to have a proposal of where the new routes in the near future.

The buses routes that currently run in East Ridge is funded by a grant that is set to expire in August 2018.

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